A new art exhibition exploring the greed of private space travel is inspired by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
- Contemporary artist Lincoln Townley is famous for his distinctive portraits of Hollywood royalty.
- Townley has just launched his new collection, Universe, which will exhibit in London's Saatchi Gallery in September.
- The galactic-themed collection is inspired by the age of private space travel, which Townley says is motivated by "greed, self-publicity, [and] a desire to do things that other people cannot do."
- Townley says that prominent tech figures collect his work in the US, and some collectors have already bought works from the Universe collection.
Lincoln Townley is a prominent UK-based contemporary artist, known for his surrealist celebrity portraits of Hollywood royalty like Michael Sheen and Meryl Streep.
Townley quit PR to become an artist eight years ago and is a media regular thanks both to sales of his
The Universe collection is inspired by the age of private space travel and features work like 'First Man on Venus', which depict "figures look out into the unknown, driving the imagination they need to win and achieve above all others."
He was inspired to create the collection by the multibillion-dollar space programs of tech tycoons such as Tesla CEO
"I'm actually creating this collection, in effect, not poking these people in the eye, but saying why, with all the problems that we have on Earth, and this is even way before Covid ... you want to venture out and spend billions trying to get to Mars when you don't even know what's on Mars," Townley continued. "With all of the power they have, shouldn't they be turning the power back to saving where we already live?"
He added: "I feel there's a huge greed factor, and I find that astonishing ... In today's world, there needs to be a darkness to be that successful. And it takes a very narrow-minded approach, genius but narrow-minded. They need to be extremely selfish, and that's something that's in the collection."
Townley said there is already considerable interest in the collection from his collector base. Many, he said, are wealthy tech figures based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Some pieces have already sold, including 'First Man on Mars', which was bought by an American energy tycoon. The remaining paintings in the collection are listed at around $225,000.Ironically, Townley said, many of his existing clients are the super-rich — bankers and celebrities. His work has long tried to give these people "a poke in the eye", with previous collections including works entitled 'Yes Men' and 'Devil Banker'.
"My work, in a nutshell, is what are we willing to go through to succeed," he said. "I think it's all to do with greed, self-publicity, a desire to do things that other people cannot do because they haven't got the funding to do it. And it's a power thing."
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